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the north west

North West England: Embracing Diversity The North West England region encompasses an area of wide diversity, from the narrow lanes and boulder-strewn hillsides of Cumbria, and upland and urban Lancashire, to the gentler Cheshire landscape, and the busy conurbations of Greater Manchester and Merseyside Ffion Llwyd-Jones reports


he region’s landscapers reflect that diversity in their projects, which range from wildlife gardens and water features, outdoor kitchens, polished steel and powder-coated sculptures, reclaimed industrial elements, to landscaping for privately funded nursing homes, and large infrastructure projects. However, they also share common challenges: finding good employees, adjusting to a changing climate, and coping with an increasing amount of legislation. DIVERSITY It’s the weather and narrow lanes, and ‘getting deliveries anywhere north of Manchester’ that first occur to Liz Newport from Buzy Lizzie Garden Design when asked about challenges. She counters that comment by remarking on the positive attributes of working with Cumbria’s diverse geology, scenery and properties. ‘Beautiful slate in the central lakes, granite in the middle, and amazing limestone pavements in the south,’ Liz comments. ‘Gardens often need to be in keeping with the landscape, so we use big boulders and create large water features, or rockeries – not the ‘70s rockery format – on a big scale. If you’re working on a property, it looks like it blends in.’ Liz also Liz Newport operates Wild Roof Landscapes, and offers clients both design and build. She adds: ‘We do a complete transformation, not just green roofs. Although, if we’re working in the National Park, a green roof can help


with planning.’ From a design perspective, Liz sees the trend for outdoor kitchens coming north. ‘It’s all the style for the Danish ‘hygge’ – being together and eating together,’ she says. ‘We’ve always done a lot of sheltered seating areas that are dug into the hillside, to get you out of the wind.’

We do a complete transformation, not just green roofs. WILDLIFE FRIENDLY Also based in Cumbria, Bea Ray of her eponymous garden design company, Bea Ray Gardens, comments on the area’s challenging climate, adding it makes sense to bear in mind what materials and plants are available locally, who can supply them, and what works well in Cumbria. Like Liz, she finds Cumbria is an inspiring place to do garden design. ‘I always enjoy trying to link a design with views from garden to the countryside, and bringing in a naturalistic feel where possible,’ Bea says. ‘The county has a range of diverse climates, and rainfall can vary Buzy Lizzie: Garden banner